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Husband of slain Iraqi immigrant arrested in El Cajon in her death

November 9, 2012 |  1:23 pm

Kassim Alhimidi wipes away tears after a memorial in March for his wife, Shaima Alawadi, at the Islamic Center of Lakeside. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

The husband of an Iraqi immigrant fatally beaten in their home in El Cajon has been arrested and charged in her death, according to San Diego County jail records.

Kassim Alhimidi, 48, was arrested Thursday night, apparently without incident. His wife, Shaima Alawadi, 32, the mother of five children, was found beaten severely March 21 and died three days later.

A note found by the couple's teenage daughter near her body seemed to indicate the killing may have been a hate crime based on animosity toward immigrants. But El Cajon police never called the beating a hate crime, citing other, unspecified, evidence.

According to court records, Alawadi planned to divorce her husband and move to Texas to be with relatives.

Alhimidi accompanied his wife's body to Iraq for burial. Her father is a Shia cleric in the holy city of Najaf.

At an Islamic memorial service in Lakeside before leaving for Iraq, Alhimidi pleaded with the public for help finding his wife's killer. Weeping uncontrollably, he threw himself on his wife's linen shroud, which was covered with red roses.

The couple had come to the U.S. in the mid-1990s after living for two years in a refugee camp in Saudi Arabia. They had lived in the Detroit suburbs and El Cajon.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Kassim Alhimidi wipes away tears after a memorial in March for his wife, Shaima Alawadi, at the Islamic Center of Lakeside. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times
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